The Ultimate Winter Car Survival Kit Checklist
The last place you want to find yourself in winter is dealing with a broken down car on the side of a snowy, dark road. Whether you’ve run out of gas, skidded into a snow bank, or have a flat tire, being stranded in the cold is something every driver should be prepared for. Having a winter car survival kit in your daily driver will ease your mind and ensure that you’ll be ready for anything. Here’s a winter car kit checklist to help you begin:
- Ice Scraper
Ice can form on your windshield in a surprisingly small amount of time. Don’t just depend on your defroster to do all the heavy lifting. Get yourself a quality ice scraper that you can rely on. Remember, plastic is easily breakable, especially in freezing temperatures, so it’s always helpful to have a second ice scraper handy. A chemical windshield de-icer could help here, too.
Waiting in the cold for a tow-truck or other emergency services could be deadly if you can’t count on your car for heat. Keeping a blanket and other warm clothing in your car (gloves, an extra jacket, etc.) is essential – you never know how long you’ll be waiting.
- Kitty Litter
This may sound confusing at first but kitty litter can actually be used as a great source of traction for your tires. If you get stuck in a bank of snow and can’t seem to get out, try sprinkling kitty litter under and around your tires so that they have something to grab on to.
- Road Flares
When visibility is low, due to darkness or snow, using road flares allows other drivers to see you. Place them behind or around your vehicle to alert and warn other drivers that you are there. If you don’t want to carry flares or can’t find them, safety road triangles would also do the trick.
Keep a flashlight handy so that when you’re working on your car in the dark or figuring out your surroundings, you’re not left without light. Make sure to keep an extra set of batteries around just in case. There are also manually-powered flashlights available so that you don’t need batteries at all.
- Jumper Cables
A working set of jumper cables should be a staple of your winter car survival kit. You shouldn’t assume all other drivers will have them – carry them yourself and you’ll never be caught without. You should also be equipped with the knowledge of how to use them.
- First Aid Kit
A first aid kit should be in your car regardless of weather conditions. Keep enough items to be able to treat small wounds and other materials such as scissors, safety pins, etc. that could also be of help in a pinch. Even if you never use your first aid kit, just having it with you is better than not having it in a time of need.
A lot of us today rely on our GPS systems or phones to get around. While they are convenient, they are useless in the event of a lost signal. Prep yourself for such a situation by keeping a map of the area with you at all times. Also, being able to read the map and map symbols is crucial to being able to use it to find your way out of a sticky situation.
- Spare Tire and Tools
If needed, would you be able to change your own tire? It’s important to travel with a spare and even more important to have experience changing a tire so you don’t get stuck in the cold trying to figure it out for the first time. You also don’t want to have to be dependent on someone else to help you – especially if you’re stranded in an unpopulated area. You’ll just need the right tools and a few simple steps to get you back on the road.
- Anything Else
Here are a few other items to consider adding to your winter car survival kit: poncho, safety vest, zip ties, shovel, snow chains, starting fluid, antifreeze/coolant, tire inflator or patch kit, snacks.
We hope you don’t find yourself needing your winter car survival kit this season but, in case you do, if you follow this checklist you’ll be all set. Always remember to try and situate yourself in the safest area possible if your car breaks down this winter. Stay away from oncoming or passing traffic and be sure that you’re as visible as possible. Remember your local emergency telephone numbers and always perform general car maintenance before taking a long trip. Keep your vehicle filled with more than enough gas to get you where you need to go and keep your car stocked with the above items. This may seem like a lot of items to keep in your vehicle but, you know how the saying goes – it’s better to be safe than sorry.